Emmitt Smith Reveals How Cowboys Influenced His Path to NASCAR Ownership

Getty Emmitt Smith forges his own path as an Xfinity Series owner.

Former NFL legend and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is taking on the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the first time as an owner in 2022. He will help run Jesse Iwuji Motorsports, but he won’t follow in the footsteps of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones or anyone else.

Smith and Jesse Iwuji met with members of the media on February 18 and discussed their first official race weekend together. The Hall of Famer explained during the session that he has a steep learning curve and that he “is drinking from a fire hose” while trying to learn the sport and how to become a team owner. However, Smith clarified that he is forging his own path while embracing his new role.

“I have my own style,” Smith told media members. “I don’t need to copy anyone else’s. You know, the good thing about having people like Jerry Jones and Roger Staubach and [Michael] Jordan and all those folks, you learn from them. What you learn, you take it, you own it for yourself, put your own little twist to it. I mean, some people love to do certain things a certain way. And I like to do things my way.”

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Another way that Smith’s ownership style will differ is that he will try to become less of a visible presence as time goes on. He will try to step away from the spotlight and let everyone focus on Iwuji, the primary driver of the No. 34.

“It’s not about me, it’s about Jesse,” Smith added. “It’s his time. Not my time, it’s his time to shine on the track. If he’s the driver, he’s the star. It’s not about me, I’m not driving the car. He’s the guy there that’s competing with the other drivers. He’s the guy that is putting it on the line. He’s the guy out there that’s risking his life to do what he loves to do. It’s not about me.

“And so for me to be a partner, I understand what my role is. The limelight shouldn’t shine on me even though it is right now because it’s brand new to everybody in the room. But eventually, I should fade to black, meaning get back and allow Jesse to rise.”


Jones Provided 1 Important Piece of Advice

Emmitt Smith

GettyEmmitt Smith is ready for his first season as an owner.

Smith may not follow Jones’ ownership path, but he will move forward with a crucial piece of information in his proverbial pocket. He received some advice from the Dallas Cowboys owner, which will help him in the coming years.

“He’s always told me, ‘don’t worry about if you lose a deal, don’t worry about a deal because another one’s coming around the corner,” Smith said. “Mr. Jones is a very, very smart, brilliant, brilliant businessman. [He’s] got a great marketing mind and has a heart of gold, even though most people may not think that.”

Other than receiving some advice from his former team’s owner, Smith hasn’t taken part in in-depth discussions about NASCAR ownership. He hasn’t sat down with 23XI Racing co-owner Michael Jordan or Joe Gibbs. Though he expects to do so at some point. Smith just wants to talk to them face-to-face instead of on the phone to properly convey the meaning of his statements.


An Important Goal for Smith Will Be Helping Inspire Others

The co-owners of Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will enter the season with multiple goals. Finishing every race, securing a top-10, and avoiding mistakes will all be on the list. However, one of the most important goals will be inspiring others and helping people from various backgrounds get involved in NASCAR.

“As Jesse stated, what we’re doing is taking advantage of an opportunity and passion that he has for this sport, and trying to create opportunities for others to see African Americans like Jesse and myself being involved as an owner [and] also involved as a driver,” Smith said. “I’m a firm believer that if you can’t see it, you might not think it’s achievable. When you see it, then you believe it’s possible. And that’s what we’re all about — the possibility of what a person’s potential can actually become.”

JIM will pursue this goal through a variety of community-focused initiatives. They will support the military community by helping veterans transition into a career in motorsports. The team has already started by bringing on some veterans to work for the team, but this is only the first step. JIM will continue to focus on this pillar in the coming years.

They will also partner with schools to provide educational opportunities for youth. Part of this process will be bringing simulators to those who can’t afford them so they can get some firsthand experience. JIM will then explain how there are multiple career paths available in motorsports, such as engineer, fabricator, and several other examples.

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